TOP Thurrock councillors were discussing flooding issues on Wednesday (13 January) evening.
The council’s cabinet were considering the borough’s first Local Flood Risk Management strategy.
Introducing the item, Council Leader Cllr John Kent, said: “There has been plenty of talk about flooding over recent weeks, plenty of horror stories, plenty of headlines and plenty of comments about how this government has taken their eye off the ball and failed to live up to their promises.”
He said: “I’m not saying Thurrock Council has the answer, we don’t even have the answer to ensure our own flood issues here in our own borough are non-existent; but what we can say is that this council has done a great deal of work examining the situation and getting prepared.”
In answer to a question from Cllr James Halden, Cllr Kent said: “We have seen over recent months that no amount of planning can guarantee to stop flooding. If you get a foot of rain in a day, it is going to flood.
“However, that doesn’t mean we should do nothing and this report tells us that work is being done in Stanford-le-Hope to reduce flooding risks there – spending Â£300,000.
“In addition we are looking at the situation in Tilbury and what can be done there too.”
Cllr Kent said he would like the council and other public authorities to do more, but that needs “more central government investment”.
He added: “This report does highlight the risks so people affected should be aware and can prepare as far as possible; it does outline then high-priority areas where we are taking action.”
He told the meeting: “As this report points out, Thurrock has suffered the consequences of flooding in recent years, and we will all know people who speak of the floods of 1953 when much of the borough’s river frontage was deep under water.
But, in recent years, our flooding has tended to be on a smaller scale – still a distressing and disastrous to those affected – but undoubtedly on a smaller scale than we have seen in the north of England and Scotland in the past month.
“Yet the next part of that sentence ‘Thurrock has suffered the consequences of flooding in recent years’ goes on to say ‘it has been estimated that there could be up to 8,000 properties across the borough at risk’, not from the Thames, but from surface water runoff.
“I would urge everyone here and indeed everyone living or working in Thurrock to have a look at the maps to see if they are at risk.”
Cllr Kent explained Thurrock has “put aside Â£300,000 over the next three years for measures to reduce the risk of flooding to around 300 homes in Stanford-le-Hope and we are working to find ways of helping people protect themselves in times of flood.
“New developments have to have flooding issues at their heart – the Gloriana development at St Chad’s in Tilbury springs to mind there – and, also in Tilbury, we are working to produce a computer model of the whole drainage system so we can increase of chances of success bidding for funding to improve the infrastructure in and around the town.”